Best. Day. Ever.
In my life time, there have been few moments where I can pin point a life changing moment. These are usually heartbreaking moments, but I'm happy to say, this time around, I experienced nothing but joy.
There are a lot of places around the globe where you can whale watch but Tonga is the only one, to my knowledge, that offers whale swimming. with this in mind, we decided to use our day off in Neiaufu doing something a little different.
Booking with a reputable company, our guides were quick not to give too much hope of getting into the water with the whales. It was early in the migration season, the whales may not be interested and it was a good idea to make the most of the day (accepting it as a whale watching expedition, a great way to see the landscape and also a snorkel at a reef) . Our guide went through the rules and regulations (only four people in the water at a time, whate the safe distance etc) and we left on a small boat in search of some very big animals.
We were not left disappointed. After about an hour sailing about and sighting whales, we were in the water ready for our first encounter. Being so close to these huge mammals was one of the most humbling experiences of my life - yes, I can hear myself, and yes I sound like a new age hippy, but never mind. Still I cannot get over the size of the humpback whale.
The first whale was sleeping upside down when we snuck up on her. When she woke up she swam alongside us before diving down into the depths.
Three encounters later and I feel hooked.
I want to swim with whales everyday.
* Thank you for Mr M.C for taking these awesome pics.
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